NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 15, 2020

What it might cost the Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Kasperi Kapanen’s role with the Penguins and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examined how much it might cost the Edmonton Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 27-year-old center/winger is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. He’s averaged 29 goals and 69 points per 82 games over the last three seasons. Gretz suggests a $7 million annual average value would be within reason for the Oilers if they spend to the cap in 2021-22.

How much will it cost the Edmonton Oilers to re-sign Ryan Nugent-Hopkins? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That would be a $1 million raise over Nugent-Hopkins’ current annual cap hit. The short-term economic uncertainty could make him receptive to that pay bump on a long-term deal.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Speaking of the Oilers, Kurt Leavins reports there’s nothing new regarding Ethan Bear’s contract talks. That has less to do with the 23-year-old defenseman and more to do with the status of Oscar Klefbom and his LTIR status.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Oilers are over $242K above the $81.5 million cap for 2020-21. Klefbom could require season-ending shoulder surgery, allowing the Oilers to spend over the cap by the equivalent of his $4.167 million AAV if he’s placed on long-term injury reserve. The Oilers will likely sign Bear to an affordable short-term bridge deal.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Pittsburgh Penguins coach Mike Sullivan confirmed Kasperi Kapanen will skate on the club’s top line alongside Sidney Crosby and Jake Guentzel. The Penguins acquired Kapanen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in August. Sullivan cited Kapanen’s speed that would make him complimentary to Crosby and Guentzel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sullivan also noted Kapanen tallied 20 goals in 2018-19 as a secondary scorer with the Leafs. He’ll have the opportunity to tally much more if he clicks with his new all-star linemates.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: San Jose Sharks defenseman Mario Ferraro said the departure of Joe Thornton hasn’t fully sunk in yet. After 15 seasons with the Sharks, Thornton recently signed a one-year contract with the Maple Leafs. Ferraro believes his teammates are really going to miss the big center when they return for training camp.

THE SCORE: The Tampa Bay Lightning are the first team to have their names engraved on the Stanley Cup when each member of the club gets their day with the trophy.

THE PROVINCE: Two Vancouver Canucks fans are leading a campaign to have Gino Odjick become a member of the club’s Ring of Honour. Odjick, a popular enforcer with the Canucks from 1990-91 to 1997-98, is battling cardiac amyloidosis.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 5, 2020

The Islanders avoid arbitration with Ryan Pulock, Blue Jackets winger Gustav Nyquist has shoulder surgery, and more in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

TSN: The New York Islanders avoided arbitration with Ryan Pulock as the 26-year-old defenseman agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract. The annual average value is $5 million, but Pulock will earn $3.34 million in actual salary this season and $6.66 million in 2021-22.

New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pulock will be an unrestricted free agent in two years’ time. He’ll be in line for a significant raise on his next contract.

Cap Friendly indicates this signing leaves the Islanders with $3.9 million in cap space with Mathew Barzal still to sign. That’s raising speculation over what general manager Lou Lamoriello will do to free up cap space for Barzal. I’ll have more about that later this morning in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET: Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist underwent surgery on his left shoulder. His anticipated recovery period is five-to-six months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nyquist’s absence is a big hit for the Blue Jackets’ anemic offense. He finished second among Jackets’ scorers last season in assists (27) and points (42) and fourth in goals with 15.

That’s sparked conjecture over how they’ll offset Nyquist’s absence. You can read about that later this morning in the Rumors section.

SPORTSNET’s Elliotte Friedman reported the New York Rangers have asked an arbitrator for a two-year contract in Brendan Lemieux’s case at $950K and $1.075 million. Lemieux seeks $2 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: His hearing is slated for Nov. 6.

WGR 550: The Buffalo Sabres signed goaltender Dustin Tokarski to a two-year, two-way contract with an annual average value of $725K.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: The Oilers signed defenseman William Lagesson to a two-year contract worth $725K annually. It’s a two-way deal during the first season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins promoted director of amateur scouting Patrik Allvin to assistant general manager.

STARTRIBUNE.COM: The Minnesota Wild extended their ECHL affiliation with the Allen Americans for 2020-21.










NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – November 3, 2020

A look at the latest list of notable unrestricted free agents in today’s NHL rumor mill.

TSN: updated their list of noteworthy unrestricted free agents as the calendar flipped to November. Winger Mike Hoffman, center Erik Haula, and wingers Corey Perry, Mikael Granlund, and Anthony Duclair fill out the top five.

Could Corey Perry sign with the Ottawa Senators? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s been widely reported Hoffman seeks a one-year, $6 million contract and is willing to be patient to get the deal he wants. The Nashville Predators are rumored to be among his suitors.

There’s some recent speculation linking Haula to the Pittsburgh Penguins but they’ve got $80.1 million invested in 23 players. Unless they shed salary there’s no room for another UFA addition.

Perry’s been linked to the Ottawa Senators but I wouldn’t be surprised if he returns to the Dallas Stars on a one-year deal. Nothing new on Granlund and Duclair, though that doesn’t mean there’s no interest in either winger.

Defensemen Sami Vatanen and Zdeno Chara, winger Andreas Athanasiou, center Carl Soderberg and blueliner Travis Hamonic round out the top ten.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nothing of note regarding Vatanen, Athanasiou, Soderberg and Hamonic but Chara’s future remains a topic of interest. It was assumed the long-time Bruins captain would return for another season in Boston. However, that’s no longer a certainty as he intends to take his time before reaching a decision.

Wingers Ilya Kovalchuk, Matt Martin, Conor Sheary, Michael Frolik and Colin Wilson fill spots 11 through 15.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk is reportedly hoping to sign with a contender and is waiting for the right offer. There was talk earlier this year that the Montreal Canadiens might try to bring him back but their offseason acquisitions of Josh Anderson and Tyler Toffoli make that unlikely.

The New York Islanders are working to bring back Martin. It’s rumored the San Jose Sharks have spoken with Sheary. Nothing new about Frolik while hip surgeries may have ended Wilson’s playing career.

Other notables on the list include Andy Greene and Karl Alzner.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There speculation the Islanders could bring back Greene. Alzner, meanwhile, was recently linked to the Boston Bruins as insurance if Chara doesn’t return.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 28, 2020

Check out the latest notable contract signings plus an update on the Penguins in today’s NHL morning coffee headlines.

THE DENVER POST: The Colorado Avalanche signed Devon Toews to a four-year, $16.4 million contract. The annual average cap hit is $4.1 million. The 26-year-old defenseman will earn $2.35 million in 2020-21, $3.55 million in 2021-22, $4.6 million in 2022-23 and $5.9 million in 2023-24.

Colorado Avalanche sign Devon Toews to a four-year contract (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche acquired Toews earlier this month from the New York Islanders. Avs general manager Joe Sakic praised him as a “smart, two-way, puck-moving defenseman who is a durable defender and is excellent in transition”.

Toews is getting a significant raise over the $700K per season of his previous contract. Like a number of contracts signed during this offseason, his deal is backloaded to pay him more in actual salary in the latter years as league revenue is expected to increase.

THE DETROIT NEWS: An arbiter has awarded Tyler Bertuzzi a salary of $3.5 million for 2020-21. The 25-year-old Red Wings forward sought $4.25 million while the club offered $3.15 million. He earned $1.4 million last season. He will be a restricted free agent with arbitration rights at the end of next season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bertuzzi was going to get a substantial raise given his performance over the last two seasons. It’s curious that he and the Wings needed arbitration to sort this out considering how narrow the gap was between them. It’ll be interesting to see if Bertuzzi goes that route again next year.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: The Carolina Hurricanes avoided arbitration with Haydn Fleury, signing the 24-year-old defenseman to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $1.3 million.

NEW YORK POST: The Islanders and winger Josh Ho-Sang avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, two-way deal worth $700K at the NHL level.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ho-Sang requested a trade last year but the Isles couldn’t find any takers. This could be his last chance to stick with the franchise.

WINNIPEG SUN: The Jets signed restricted free agent forward Jansen Harkins to a two-year contract worth $725K per season.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators signed forward Filip Chlapik to a one-year, two-way contract worth $750K at the NHL level.

THE PROVINCE: Former Vancouver Canucks defenseman Oscar Fantenberg has signed with KHL club SKA St. Petersburg.

THE SCORE: cites The Athletic reporting the Pittsburgh Penguins are exploring the possibility of hiring former Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon in some capacity.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins could also be considering bringing back Jason Botterill, who was fired as Buffalo Sabres GM earlier this year.










NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2020

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – October 27, 2020

In today’s NHL morning coffee headlines: The Senators avoid arbitration with Chris Tierney, the latest on the Penguins and Coyotes, and long-time Edmonton sports icon Joey Moss passes away.

OTTAWA SUN: The Senators avoided salary arbitration with Chris Tierney as the two sides agreed to a two-year contract worth an annual average value of $3.5 million. The 26-year-old center’s arbitration hearing was slated for Nov. 8.

Ottawa Senators center Chris Tierney (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another affordable move by the Senators to keep a key veteran in the folk. Acquired from the San Jose Sharks in the Erik Karlsson trade in 2018, Tierney’s become an invaluable two-way center for the Sens, netting 37 points in 71 games last season.

TRIBLIVE.COM: The Pittsburgh Penguins fired assistant general manager Jason Karmanos yesterday. No reason was given for the move. He’d been in the position since 2014, hired a week after Jim Rutherford was named general manager. Karmanos also served as GM of the Penguins’ AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

The Penguins also announced Trevor Daley was hired as a hockey operations advisor. Daley, 37, has retired as an NHL defenseman after 16 seasons spent with the Penguins, Dallas Stars, Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings. He won two Stanley Cups with the Pens in 2016 and 2017, finishing his career with 89 goals and 309 points in 1,058 games.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Best wishes to Daley in his future endeavors.

AZCENTRAL.COM: The Arizona Coyotes are facing criticism for selecting Mitchell Miller in this year’s draft after it was revealed the defenseman admitted to repeatedly bullying, hitting and racially taunting an African-American classmate with developmental disabilities four years ago. The club and GM Bill Armstrong responded with statements pointing out Miller sent a letter to all 31 NHL teams acknowledging his behavior and expressing remorse, but the mother of the victim said he has never personally apologized. Armstrong had not officially taken over as GM when Miller was selected.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: While the Coyotes are under fire for their selection, The Hockey News’ Ken Campbell points out there were many others in the hockey world willing to have Miller on their team despite his checkered past. Campbell raises legitimate questions over Miller’s character, if he’s truly remorseful for his actions, and if he’s deserving of a chance to play in the NHL.

SPORTSNET: Speaking of the Coyotes, they’re reportedly in discussions with Shane Doan regarding the possible return of their former captain to the organization.

EDMONTON JOURNAL: Joey Moss, the long-time dressing-room attendant for the Oilers and the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos, passed away at 57 after a long struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and recent hip surgery. Moss, who had Down syndrome, was hired by the Oilers in 1984 and the Eskimos in 1986 on the recommendation of Wayne Gretzky. He quickly endeared himself with both clubs, becoming a popular, well-recognized part of the Edmonton community. In 2015, he was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Moss was an inspiration as well as a beloved icon of the Oilers and Eskimos. My condolences to his family, friends and the Oilers’ and Eskimos’ organizations.










NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2020

NHL Rumor Mill – October 26, 2020

A look at potential destinations for the top remaining UFAs in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz examines some possible landing spots for unrestricted free agent forwards Mike Hoffman, Anthony Duclair, Mikael Granlund, Dominik Kahun and Carl Soderberg.

Could Mike Hoffman sign with the Nashville Predators? (NHL Images)

Gretz suggests the Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets as two clubs that could use Hoffman’s offensive skills, but both clubs lack sufficient salary-cap space. The Bruins also have restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk to re-sign while the Blue Jackets need to sign first-line center Pierre-Luc Dubois. The Nashville Predators are a more likely candidate as they’ve shed considerable cap space and need a scoring forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators appear to be the best destination for Hoffman. Cap Friendly indicates they have over $12.9 million in cap space with restricted free agent Luke Kunin to re-sign, so they’ve got plenty of room. I think Predators general manager David Poile could be trying to out-wait Hoffman in the hope the winger will lower his rumored asking price of a $6 million contract for next season.

Other clubs with salary cap room (Detroit, New Jersey, Ottawa) could also use more scoring punch. However, they’re not playoff contenders like the Preds and could be unwilling to invest in a player they’ll only have for one season. Given Hoffman’s messy departure from the Senators, I doubt he’ll be returning to Ottawa except as a visiting player.

Gretz suggests two options for Duclair. He could sign a short-term deal with a rebuilding club like Detroit or New Jersey where he’ll get big minutes and could be moved to a contender by the trade deadline. Another is signing a short-term deal with a contender like the Dallas Stars, who could use a little more offense.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As with Hoffman, I wonder if the Red Wings and Devils would be keen to sign a player like Duclair to a one-year deal if they’re only going to move him for a draft pick or prospect at the trade deadline. The Wings are already well-stocked with draft picks for 2021 with six in the first three rounds, including three second-rounders.

The Stars could use a little more punch at left wing but they’ve only got $4.1 million in cap space with Roope Hintz to re-sign. Adding another forward, even one on an affordable deal, would be a tight fit.

Gretz suggests the Blues Jackets as a fit for Granlund. He also thinks Penguins GM Jim Rutherford has an opportunity to correct his mistake of trading away Kahun last season by bringing him back as a free agent to bolster his club’s bottom-six forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Granlund will have to accept a significant pay cut to sign with the Jackets. They’ve got $12.9 million in cap space but a big chunk of that will be taken up by Dubois’ next contract.

The Penguins have $1.3 million in cap space. They could squeeze in Kahen for under $1 million but that won’t leave much wiggle room for other moves as needed during the season. However, they could free up space by demoting one of the four forwards they currently have who are earning $750K or less for next season.

The Vancouver Canucks would be a good destination for Soderberg provided the Canucks could free up some salary by finding a way to dump Brandon Sutter or Jay Beagle. Teams that need depth at center like Minnesota or Nashville could also be landing spots.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rule out the Canucks for Soderberg. They’re over the cap by $1.5 million. GM Jim Benning declined to buy out Sutter over the weekend, citing his leadership and defensive skills. Beagle carries a five-team no-trade list and a $3 million cap hit for the next two seasons. I don’t see him going anywhere.

The Wild have plenty of depth centers since acquiring Marcus Johansson, Nick Bjugstad and Nick Bonino. What they need is a true first-line center, which Soderberg isn’t. Maybe the Predators turn to him if they lose out on Hoffman.